Owen High baseball drops game to Mountain Heritage, still winless after 7 games

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
Owen catcher Sidney Stone swings for a pitch against Mountain Heritage on March 25.

In the fourth inning against Mountain Heritage, the Owen baseball team had just rallied from a 3-0 deficit and trailed 3-2. 

The winless Warhorses got a hit from senior Briggs Barker that led to Liam Gildner scoring Owen's first run, then a run from DJ Graves had the then 0-6 team looking pretty good.

Things changed.

Mountain Heritage got a late hit off Graves, and another off relief pitcher Gildner to increase its lead 5-2, scoring a run in the fourth and fifth innings, and the Warhorses fell for its seventh game of the season, 5-3.

"Tonight was a good night, everybody as a whole played well," said coach Michael Bonifay. "We have the right pieces, it's just a matter of everything starting to click."

Aiden Warnock scored a run in the sixth inning for Owen's final point of the night. 

With its loss to Mountain Heritage, Owen's overall record is 0-7. Owen is currently ranked seventh in its conference, with a score of 0-3 in league play. 

Starting pitcher Graves played 5 innings, striking out four batters and walking 5. Gildner took over pitching during the top of the fifth inning. He pitched 3 innings, striking out 3 batters and walking 3. 

Gildner led the Warhorses with 5 hits, scoring 1 run. Graves and sophomore Warnock followed with 4 hits and 1 run each. 

Owen pitcher DJ Graves threw for five innings, striking out four batters on March 25.

After a slow start, Mountain Heritage took a 1-0 lead at the end of the second inning, increasing the lead to 3-0 in the third.

Bonifay said timely hitting and defense need to be the focus for the Warhorses as the season progresses. He said issues such as striking out with loaded bases continues to create problems for the team.

"The biggest thing for this group is making sure we play clean baseball," Bonifay said. 

Mountain Heritage increased its lead over Owen to 5-2, scoring a run in the fourth inning and another in the fifth. 

As a team, Owen holds a batting average of 0.12, significantly lower than the national average of 0.278. Ranked last in its conference, the Warhorses sit behind Avery County which holds a league record of 0-2.

"We're going to bounce back here soon," Bonifay said.

Ezra Maille covers the town of Black Mountain, Montreat and the Swannanoa Valley. Reach him at 828-230-3324 or emaille@blackmountainnews.com. Please support local journalism with access to more breaking news by subscribing.